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Book Review

cover Bet With The Best 2: Longshots
by Editors of the Daily Racing Form
DRF Press, February 2008, 252 pages hardcover

In 2001, nine of the most respected names in North American Thoroughbred handicapping got together to produce Bet With The Best, a compact yet comprehensive guide to horse race handicapping and betting in the modern age. Seven years later, those same nine writers, joined by newcomer Brad Free, have returned to produce the second installment, to help today's horseplayer keep pace with the changing game. Like the first installment, each writer uses examples to demonstrate how their handicapping theory is used in practice, and rather than confuse the reader with one large combined effort, each chapter is an individual essay addressing a very specific topic in the game. As was said in the introduction of the first book, "The sport is constantly changing, and your opponents are getting better. If you don't keep up with those changes, you'll get left behind."

However, this second installment builds on knowledge gained in the first book by focusing on uncovering longshot plays. Although the game may have gotten tougher to beat, there are still overlays to be had and the key to this is finding horses that the public may have overlooked, which by design will lead to higher payoffs in the win and exotic pools. Novices to the betting game should read the first book before continuing on to this current edition.

Brad Free is the newcomer to the series, and his chapter, Uncovering Longshots using Fundamental Handicapping, shows that what with all the modern tools and data overload out there, sometimes, taking a step back and returning to old tried-and-true methods sometimes can point at the longshot winner when other methods all pointed at a false favorite, the basis of looking for value in the pools. The other writers wrote to their strengths: Steve Davidowitz on track biases and trainer angles, Tom Brohamer on the "turnback" play, Alan Shuback with foreign imports, Lauren Stich with turf pedigrees, and Steve Crist on exotic play, but the notable exception, as was the case in the first book, was Andrew Beyer in the very first chapter. Well-known for his revolutionary speed figures, in today's world where everybody has figures, he instead goes into using technology, specifically the DRF Formulator software and datafiles, to find overlays using betting angles and hidden form, and takes the time to explain what to look for and take notes on when watching race replays, as these reveal details that may not appear in a past performance line or result chart. Trip notes may have become a lost art in recent years but as the game gets tougher to beat, what was old has become new again. Mike Watchmaker's chapter on Grade 1 races will be a real eye-opener especially for recreational players who only bet on big race days.

Clearly, this new book "fills in the gaps" from the first book, helping the horseplayer attack the game with confidence. With this layout, it's like getting ten books in one, making it excellent value for your money. Whether you're new to the game or have been grinding it out for years, you will find Bet with the Best 2 to be a very useful and welcome addition to your personal reference library.

Bet with the Best 2 has a cover price of $29.95 and can be ordered Amazon.com for only $19.77.

Rating:     4.5/5

Bet With The Best - the first book from 2001

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